Thursday, February 23, 2017

Some Soccer News for Feb 23, 2017

It's Day 54 of 2017.

You can't start anywhere else but here: 7 new planets with qualities that could make them Earth-ish have been found. They are only 235 Trillion miles away too. From NASA, who else?


This would have been first today, but nothing beats 7 planets! Leicester City, the beloved of all beloveds in 2016 have fired head coach Claudio Ranieri. Yup, fired! Adios. Arrivederci. By Matt Lawson for the Daily Mail.
  • After that sensational, once in a 100 years championship of last season, they are currently just 1 point above relegation in the Premier League.
  • I have seen a lot of online chatter about how ruthless, heartless, thankless and brutal this all is, I am sure he walked away with a brown paper bag containing a couple Million bucks - that sure would soften the blow for me.


The British footballing industry has created an index of the top black "movers and shakers" - Football's Black List. Thanks to Rob Harris of the AP for the link.


A new MLS column appears for the first time in the St Paul Pioneer Press. Welcome aboard the soccer band wagon to writer Joe Bisson.


  • The quality of football across the Middle East is on the rise, but its not all smooth and silky! UAE, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Palestine are a couple countries profiled. By Uri Levy for The New Arab. Thanks to Keiran for the link.
  • "UAE's Arabian Gulf League secured top place in the Asian Football Confederation's power ranking."


CONCACAF Champions League

We got two 1-1 ties on Wed night. That is good news for Vancouver + Pumas - road goals!

New York had a man advantage for the final 19 minutes but didn't take it. Cristian Techera of Vanc was ejected for a wild boot that caught Sal Zizzo right in the groinal zone.

Sacha Kljestan of RB had a Penalty Kick saved by VW's David Ousted.

American Jose Torres was on the bench but didn't play for Tigres.

The Chilean demon Eduardo Vargas, who was a menace in the Copa America Centenario last summer, got the goal for Tigres.

It was cool to find out that our Friend In Football Simon Evans is doing some of the English language commentary on Facebook for this tournament.

Quarterfinal Matches:
1st Leg
-Tue Feb 21
Saprissa(6) 0-0 Pachuca(3)
-Wed Feb 22
Red Bulls(8) 1-1 Vancouver(1) - goals by Bradley Wright-Phillips for NYRB and Kekuta Manneh for VW.
Tigres(5) 1-1 Pumas(4)
-Thu Feb 23
Dallas(7) v Arabe Unido(2) - 7:00pm CT
  • All games on Univision Deportes & CONCACAF Facebook



One big question is what level Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez attain in MLS? By Arch Bell for ESPNFC.

A pretty rough loss to Toronto on Wednesday. (See yesterday's post for my notes.)

Game highlights v TFC. [VIDEO]

Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun responded to me on Facebook last night with his analysis of Minnesota's performance against TFC:
"On this day, the gap in quality was marked. Factors included a bus ride for Minnesota and the fact they were missing a few players. But the beating was pretty comprehensive. Minnesota didn't really have an attempt on goal in the second half. As TFC's coach told me, the score could have been -- and maybe should have been -- even more lopsided. Toronto FC is good, though."Thank you Kurt.

My three areas of concern:
  • Fullbacks are having a tough time on the defensive end.
  • Goalkeeper looks slow.
  • The 3 in the midfield are not contributing to either end of the field.

Megan Ryan of the Star Tribune reported that Tiago Calvano, Alvin Jones and Eugene Starikov, all invitees to preseason training camp are no longer with Minnesota United.

In Orlando for the final 2 preseason games:
-Wed Feb 22
MU 0-3 Toronto
-Sun Feb 26
MU v San Antonio (USL)

Training camp roster (28):
  • G: John Alvbage, Marco Carducci (trialist), Patrick McLain, Bobby Shuttleworth.
  • D: Francisco Calvo, Justin Davis, Vadim Demidov, Joe Greenspan, Brent Kallman, Jermaine Taylor, Kevin Venegas, Thomas de Villardi (unsigned draft pick)
  • M: Bernardo Anor, Joshua Gatt, Raul Gonzalez (trialist), Ibson, Miguel Ibarra, Ismaila Jome, Bashkim Kadrii, Collin Martin, Kevin Molino, Mohammed Saeid, Rasmus Schuller, Tanner Thompson (unsigned draft pick), Collen Warner
  • F: Abu Danladi, Christian Ramirez, Johan Venegas


The two favored teams going into this MLS season are Toronto and Dallas:
  • Is it really MLS Cup or nothing for Toronto FC this season? That is what this article says. By Daniel Squizzato for Four Four Two.
  • Dallas wants to win even better this season. Cuz they can't win much more than in 2016. By Jon Arnold for Sports Day.


Reports say Real Madrid will be this years MLS All Star game opponent, which will be held on Aug 2 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


The Nod: du Nord Music Mix Vol 113 (download + extract)


UEFA Champions League

Here are reviews of the 2 games on Wednesday: Sevilla v Leicester - AND - Porto v Juventus. Via

Round of 16 Matches:
1st Leg
-Wed Feb 22
Sevilla 2-1 Leicester
Porto 0-2 Juventus
-2nd Leg games start Mar 7


USMNT U20s at the CONCACAF Championship and U20 World Cup qualifying

Very important game on Friday.

Group B Matches:
-Sat Feb 18
USA 0-1 Panama
-Tue Feb 21
USA 4-1 Haiti
-Fri Feb 24
USA v St Kitts + Nevis at 4:30pm CT
  • Games broadcast on Univision networks.

Group B Standings:
6 Panama (+5)
3 USA (+2)
3 Haiti (+1)
0 St Kitts + Nevis (-8)

Tournament runs until Mar 5 in Costa Rica.

USA roster:
  • G: Jonathan Klinsmann - U California, JT Marcinkowski - Georgetown
  • D: Marlon Fossey - Fulham, Justen Glad - Real Salt Lake, Aaron Herrera - U New Mexico, Erik Palmer-Brown - Sporting Kansas City, Tommy Redding - Orlando City, Auston Trusty - Philadelphia Union
  • M: Danny Acosta - Real Salt Lake, Tyler Adams - New York Red Bulls, Coy Craft - Dallas, Luca De la Torre - Fulham, Jonathan Gonzalez - Monterrey, Jeremiah Gutjahr - Indiana U, Jonathan Lewis - New York City, Sebastian Saucedo - Real Salt Lake, Eryk Williamson - U Maryland
  • F: Jeremy Ebobisse - Portland Timbers, Brooks Lennon - Real Salt Lake, Emmanuel Sabbi - Las Palmas
  • C: Tab Ramos

Group A: Mexico, Antigua + Barbuda, Honduras, Canada
Group B: USA, Panama, St Kitts + Nevis, Haiti
Group C: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Bermuda, Trinidad + Tobago

Tournament format: 3 initial groups. Top 2 from each group advances to a 2nd group stage consisting of 2 groups of 3. The top 2 teams in each of those groups advances to the U20 World Cup, and winners of those 2 groups playing for the CONCACAF Championship on Mar 3.


The Miguel Herrera + Tijuana Tracker:
  • Standings - 3rd Place, 3 points behind leader
  • Up Next - Fri Feb 24 v Monterrey

Up Next in Liga MX:
-Fri Feb 24
Tijuana v Monterrey - #3 v #4

The Bird Is The Word


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